I promised to show the Hellebores following the botanical art workshop at the weekend. Unfortunately I couldn’t do it before now as one student came back during the week for a class – taking advantage of being on holiday in the area; one went back to Norway; and one wanted to do some more at home after the workshop. However, here they are. I am really pleased with the pictures so far. All the students decided to use coloured pencil, but painting Hellebores face exposed is not easy, whether using watercolour or coloured pencil. There is a lot of detailed work.
For those of you who do know a bit about coloured pencil and botanical art, no embossing tool was even near any of the pictures. They all decided to try doing it the hard way via controlling their pencil and carefully laying layers of colour. The results of this were really good. Personally I feel that if you can avoid the embossing tool as much as possible, the result is more realistic and of course you don’t damage the paper. I think that In the end the students found the spots on the petals the most difficult.
It was the spot pattern on some of the Hellebores that had attracted several of them to choose these particular flowers, but they didn’t find it as easy as they had thought. The reason for this was that the spots guide the insects to the nectaries and this creates a specific pattern, but at the same time they accentuate the shape and fall of the petals – almost in the same way as the veins do. Not easy.
It was interesting listening to the conversation round the table about their individual choices of flowers. One felt she wasn’t able to get things really dark with CP, so chose the dark flower. She found that spending time on choosing the right colours and deciding the order in which they were used, helps a lot – as does being conscious of contrast. Another person chose a pale flower as they had difficulty doing pale. One person didn’t really like Hellebores but wanted to learn how to do them.
As each of them benefitted from looking at each others work, it was quite rewarding. I think that all were surprised and pleased with their results.
Before I say anything else, I am so grateful to the support I am getting from you out there. I have had some lovely messages of support. Thank you. It helps.
I don’t know whether it is the messages that I have been getting, but today seemed easier somehow. I decided not to go to church this morning, so I had all morning to organise things before my husband returned. I wrote lists – in detail and have been ticking off every small element as I go along. I can actually see that I have managed some things and I know what I have left to do.
I have finished the information sheets and have printed them out. But I still have to mount them on board ready to go.
All my labelling is designed and printed. That too is ready to be mounted on board. But it is a very fiddly job as I found out last time – better to use double-sided tape than glue.
I will be taking some limited edition prints with me. They are printed and just waiting to have mounts put on them. I also did a combi-sheet of the different blooms from each Malus variety. I tried it out with the apples and also one for the dissections – but they didn’t look so nice. Too much information on one sheet. I will take some ‘Blossom’ sheets with me, but they aren’t limited edition and won’t be mounted. I have been going on about how different the blossom is on each tree and you can really see it with this page.
Guess who’s doing the ironing? And making supper? I am lucky aren’t I?
Another thing that has helped today is that I haven’t looked at the pictures at all.
This time I am going to show you the Malus x atrosanguinea ‘Gorgeous’ apples. They are of course in coloured pencil. If you don’t know their actual size, you would think they are just ordinary apples. In actual fact, they don’t taste as sour as the other crab apples and there are usually loads on the tiny tree.
On Monday my husband and I spent all day at the Oxmarket galleries in Chichester. We were helping with the preparation for the SFP exhibition – taking in pictures and helping with the hanging. it was a really hot day and quite tiring- as you would expect. The opening was on Tuesday evening and was open to the public on Wednesday.
The flower festival starts in Chichester at the weekend, so hopefully it will draw people in to see the floralpaintings hanging there.
By the way, I got a ‘highly commended’ award for the Chairman’s trophy. This was for my dissected Magnolia flower.
I have not updated this blog for a very long time. My excuse is like for everyone else – too busy.
But, a lot has happened in recent month. We decided last year that we were going to re-organise the house to accommodate my botanical art classes and open studios in May (with the Chichester Art trail) and in August. We started building works after Christmas and have continued since then. The main area, including kitchen, was done in time for the open studios in May. In fact the door into the gallery was only hung the night before – a close shave!
We had a huge increase in the number of visitors this year although the weather was very bad the first weekend with loads of rain. Two couples turned at the door and said that my type of art was not for them. A few others who came, came to have a look in other people’s houses (own admission), but became hooked on what they saw. that was a fantastic result. I spent a lot of time telling people how I paint and why, showing them the process and giving them an opportunity to at least try out the colour pencils. Some became smitten and several signed up for classes and workshops.
I have loads more to tell, including about the Society of Floral Painters exhibition to take place this year in Chichester. I will come back to that tomorrow.
As a botanical artist, I have been thinking about what subject to illustrate for the next time I submit my work to the RHS. Having won a silver for my Magnolia series in March this year, I want to choose a subject that is likely to earn me an additional medal. As Wisteria flowered not long after the exhibition, I had thought about plants from the Pea family, then seeing red berries from one of the Nightshade family (Solanum) in the hedgerows, I thought of doing that. I am in the middle of one botanical watercolour painting (Solanum dulcamara), but they have quite a sprawling habit and therefore a painting needs to show this.
We have four crab apple trees in our garden and three of them are heavily laden this year. They too make a good subject. I would have to find four more trees though to make the series of eight.
Today, I have been doing drawings, making colour samples and taking pictures of the fruit and leaves, so that I have something to start with. Hopefully I can add the flowers and young spring leaves to the preparatory work next year. I might do this series in colour pencil.
This means that in fact I have some material already on the go to do two separate series. I wonder which one will get there first?